tan_peiling_1Set within the physical context of the Singapore Art Museum, this work draws on the theme of change and conservation.

In Historical Details (I), elements of the significantly preserved façade of the museum have been displaced and reinvented. The new configuration of the museum’s interior re-examines history, and discusses how history can be recorded and collectively remembered with the passing of time.

With the intensification of redevelopment in Singapore, our landscapes are constantly changing. In that, this work looks into modes of representing events to prompt the reconciliation of our experiences and pushes us to reflect on how we choose to experience, record and remember places.

Inquiry Process

 Can you share with us what are some of your artistic philosophies/ guiding principles that governs your art making/artwork?

My practice looks at how visual media informs human perception and understanding of reality. Often, in the form of an installation, the works re-examine how visual culture shapes the ways we choose to experience, record and remember.

How do you work? Where do you get your inspirations from? What do you hope to achieve in your work? 

The experience of place and how we collect and record memory of place is something I often find intriguing. I am interested in finding ways to prompt us to rethink how we choose to experience, record or remember an event, a site or maybe even a person.

Recording soundscapes from to construct memories of places

Can you share with us your own personal artistic journey?

The deaf community is important to me in shaping my art practice. A chanced opportunity to volunteer in Welfare Services Club, Nanyang Technological University, I began looking at the relationship between visual and sound. Created in 2009, First Sound (below) was my first multimedia installation, collaborating with the deaf community to look at ways to represent the sound they hope to hear through an installation involving other senses.

Interview sessions with hearing impaired participants

Installation view of First Sounds, 2009

What are some of the previous art works made? Can you briefly talk about them? How are they related to the current work that you are making for a edge?

Room with postcard on floor looks at human perception and attention. In the context of an exhibition, audience enters an empty room with a postcard half visible, half embedded behind the wall. Beneath the walls, one is invited to listen into translated postcard messages left behind by its senders.

 Installation View of Room with postcard on floor

Using a similar mechanism, the work that I will be showing, titled Historical Details, prompt the audience in reflecting the ways we choose to remember or record the experience of place. In this case, an almost visually non-existent, half-revealed tiles relook at how we could possibly rethink of our memory of place through the significant remaining tiles that remains in Singapore Art Museum.

Sketches from Historical Details

How does your teaching practice inform or interact your art making practice? 

School provides the best environment to interact with like-minded students who enjoys art making. Once, I had a chance to ask students to develop their own personal photo essays for an exhibition. Many students took on a very personal approach and started sharing their photographs and memories of their neighbourhood and school. This brought about some very interesting series of work that I learnt a lot and was insprired from.


Photography work of Ong Li Qi, 2014, Canberra Secondary School

What are some challenges or problems you have encountered along the way and how did you managed to overcome them?

Working with installation, especially if they are to be completed or made on site has many possible issues that involves storage constraints, critical short set-up timing and transportation. Scale of such works also pose difficulty to store and to re-exhibit.

I came to reconcile with the nature of the works that I do. Sometimes I think it actually helps me because everytime I arrive on site to a new exhibting space I get excited thinking about what I would like to do in the space instead of which current works to propose to be in the show. Space constraint is often a problem to many local practising artists. Through the limitations, I have learnt to make my works modular such that they can be dismantled and reconstruct, although this usually brings about higher production cost to some of my work.

|| Tan Pei Ling

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s